Justin Kownacki thinks so (I tend to disagree, but he makes some telling points)
Dear protesters (and those who feel like shouting while at home),
Protesting is, with rare exception, a waste of your time and effort. The appalling political and socioeconomic atrocities you seek to call attention to (if not overthrow completely) will continue long after your minor show of solidarity accrues its obligatory minimalist press coverage. What you’re upset about today will still be something to be upset about tomorrow, but the difference is, what you’re upset about has the benefit of international resources, global awareness and mainstream media control.
You have a hoodie.
Instead of descending upon Pittsburgh — a city that’s only now emerging from a decades-long coma of post-industrial demoralization, and which finally has a non-Steelers-related excuse for visitors from beyond the tri-state area to book hotel rooms downtown — and doing your anarchic best to topple the world’s most oppressive regimes by smashing the windows of small businesses, vandalizing police equipment and engaging in other counterculture activities that people with day jobs will eventually be taxed into repairing, consider this:
He then offers 20 Things That Make More Sense Than Protesting apparently not knowing that he waded into the long-running disagreement on the left as whether it is better to work incrementally for change or go for the whole enchilada. He’s obviously an incrementalist.
Mass protest worked well in the 60’s with civil rights and the Vietnam war. It was new, different, and the powers-that-be hadn’t figured out how to counter it. Also, protesters then weren’t (for the most part) smashing coffee house windows in the delusion they were striking a mighty blow against the state.
In our wired 24/7 world where media response by the other side(s) is instant and police routinely herd protesters into far-away areas so as to neutralize them, mass protest (especially when you don’t have the masses on your side) increasingly seems a rote exercise. Somehow, we need to devise new, better, and more effective ways of protesting.
Pittsburgh Indymedia has continuing, excellent coverage of the G20 protests.